It’s likely that you have experienced an impromptu performance before. Maybe a sing-a-long in the car after boredom kicks in somewhere between the coast and the city; maybe when a shy mate picks up a guitar around a flickering campfire; or perhaps when a musician reveals their latest song writing effort to a circle of trusted friends in their living room. These intimate performances are special to us because, in that very moment, we feel privileged to be a part of it. There’s no need to Instagram or tweet or try and replicate it beyond those few minutes – we just realise that it’s a moment to cherish with the lucky few who happen to be there.
It is this unique bond, formed through the sharing of spontaneous, intimate musical experiences, which underpins the global Songs From A Room (Sofar) Sounds movement. Founded in London in 2009, Sofar brings artists and audiences together to enjoy small gigs held in living room spaces in over 35 cities around the world.
“For me, I think the best thing about it is how intimate the shows are,” explains Hannah Crofts, who heads Sofar’s Melbourne arm. “There is no stage so the audience and the musician are inches away from each other.”
This Sunday will see the movement, which has been staging monthly local shows since April this year, abandon lounge room clutter to take up residence in Abbotsford’s Schoolhouse Studios for a one-day-only Christmas fiesta. The high standard of the line-up is a sure guarantee because – unlike your share house’s small-scale recasting of Australia’s Got Talent – all the performers come with international endorsement.
“Every artist’s music gets put to the global Sofar community and then three people have to agree we want to have that artist at a show. This ensures the music stays diverse and allows everyone input,” says Crofts.
Although it has become customary to keep the line-up of each event secret right up until the day, a teaser of artists – including psychedelic pop siren Brous, folk-rock songstress Ainslie Wills, soul group The Harpoons, catchy pop band Francolin and Sydney-based vocalist Elana Stone – have been confirmed for Sunday, already more than justifying the humble $15 cover charge.
The only rule of Sofar? Silence is expected while the acts perform, so that unlike a crowded, noisy pub gig, the music can be clearly heard and enjoyed, ensuring the electricity of the experience. Luckily, Beatbox Kitchen burgers and Lucky Pops Ice Delights will be on hand to shut up even the most inexhaustible chatterboxes.
The event will run from 3pm to 10pm, Sunday December 16, at Schoolhouse Studios, 97 Nicholson Street, Abbotsford.